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7 Reasons Why You Would Need Corrective Jaw Surgery

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You may not realize how critical your jaw is to daily functions until it starts to cause you pain. An injured jaw can really impact your quality of life. The same is true if your jaw bones are misaligned or if you have a facial asymmetry. It will be in your best interest to have a conversation with a dental professional about what treatment you can receive.

Corrective jaw surgery is oftentimes known as orthognathic surgery. During this procedure, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can correct both dental and skeletal abnormalities. This is done by surgically repositioning your lower and/or upper jaw bones. A surgeon may work collaboratively with an orthodontist to ensure a successful long-term solution. Their aim is to eliminate any functional problems with your jaw so that you can happily get on with your life. Below, we explore seven signs that point to a potential need for corrective jaw surgery.

First, what are the types of corrective jaw surgery?

There are several types of orthographic surgeries, but the basic principles are that osteotomies (cuts in the bone) are made to correct an upper or lower jaw that is either too big, too small, and/or asymmetric. The most common maxillary (upper jaw) osteotomy is the LeFort I osteotomy. In the mandible (lower jaw), the most common is a Bilateral Sagittal Split osteotomy (BSSO). Often, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will recommend surgery for both jaws (bimaxillary or double jaw osteotomies), especially if the corrections to be made are not insignificant.

Why would I need surgical treatment?

Orthodontics can only correct dental malocclusions (meaning the teeth are in the wrong spot), but orthographic surgery is necessary when the teeth are in the wrong spot because the bones they sit in are in the wrong position. This is known as a skeletal deformity or malocclusion.  Orthognathic jaw surgery is usually indicated when orthodontics alone cannot correct the bite. If orthodontics alone is used to correct skeletal deformities, there is a high chance that the bite will release, requiring additional treatment in the future.

Enduring a surgery can be nerve-wracking. This is especially true of jaw surgery. After all, altering your jaw’s position can change the shape of your face. But you will find that surgical treatment can make a world of difference in how you live your life. It’s a process that brings you facial harmony, with your facial muscles and teeth being adequately supported. Let’s get into seven signs you should look into corrective jaw surgery.

You have experienced a facial injury.

There are a variety of facial injuries and traumas that could impact your jaw. One is a fracture, or broken bone. This may have happened due to a bad fall, a car accident, or rough contact during sports. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in handling facial injuries, both through reconstruction and rehabilitation. Therefore, corrective jaw surgery can fix the irregularities that came from the injury.

You are experiencing difficulty chewing.

Chewing is a basic function. When we are unable to chew properly, it is incredibly inconvenient. Consider how you chew your food. Is it on your back molars? Do your teeth not touch as they should? Because that could potentially indicate that you need corrective jaw surgery. If you have an open bite (when your front top and bottom teeth do not meet), this procedure can get rid of any difficulties that you have with eating.

You have trouble swallowing.

If you are experiencing constant discomfort with swallowing, do not let this issue persist further. You may find that your untreated bite irregularities are resulting in these complications. That is to say, you are enduring an imbalance between your neck, facial muscles, and oral cavity. This influences your mouth functions over time. Let an oral surgeon take a look at your jaw development.

You endure lingering jaw pain.

Your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint is what connects your jaw bone to your skull. It acts as a sliding hinge. If you have TMJ disorder, this means that you have a condition that affects your jaw joint and the surrounding facial muscles. Make sure that your dentist knows about any pain or headaches that you are experiencing. You don’t automatically have to get surgery to combat this. Instead, you can get Botox injection treatments, which are less invasive.

You have an underbite or overbite.

Underbites and overbites cause facial imbalance, which not only impacts how you bite but also how you perceive yourself. Work with the best orthognathic surgeon in Austin to perfectly align your jaws. They will be able to significantly improve your smile and jawline, and, thus, your confidence. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will reshape and reposition the jaw bone in a way that is tailored to the severity of your underbite or overbite.

You have a receding chin.

Also known as retrognathia, a receding chin is a condition where your chin is less defined. The lower jaw is set back further than the upper jaw. This results in a severe overbite. Most of the time, this is a cosmetic issue. However, it could lead to health concerns if not taken care of by a professional. Intense jaw pain from TMJ disorder is one of them. Another is having difficulty breathing with sleep apnea.

You have obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which your airway is impeded during sleep. While there are many non-surgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, some are ineffective for moderate to severe cases. Orthognathic surgery can be used to correct up to 95% of even severe obstructive sleep apnea cases. If your non-surgical management is either ineffective or not tolerated, then you should visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to see if orthognathic surgery is a good option for you.

What does corrective jaw surgery entail?

There are three stages to this procedure.

Pre-surgical Orthodontic Phase

Pre-surgical orthodontic phase. This is when the orthodontist levels and aligns the teeth so that after the jaws are moved, the teeth will be more correctly positioned. Traditionally, this required the use of braces. However, now Dr. Jeff Alford is able to use clear aligners (Invisalign, Clear Correct, etc.) often without the need for any braces at all. Depending on your needs, this phase can be anywhere from 0 to 24 months, often around 12 months.

Surgical Phase

This is the phase in which your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform the necessary surgical movements. Most of the time, this will be done under anesthesia in a hospital or surgery center. After about 6 to 8 weeks, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will release you to see your orthodontist again to begin phase 3.

Post-surgical Orthodontic Phase

This is when the orthodontist will fine-tune your occlusion based on the results of the jaw surgery. This phase is typically between 1 to 12 months.


Are you facing any of these issues with your jaw? If so, you may be in need of corrective jaw surgery by the experts at Lake Travis Oral Surgery and Bastrop Oral Surgery in the heart of Texas. We are qualified to both manage and treat facial trauma and TMJ disorder. Let our advanced surgical techniques bring a smile back to your face. Fill out our form to request a consultation at our Lakeway or Bastrop office.